I’ve found it.
My favorite book of 2015.
I. LOVED. KULTI!!!! It was utter perfection – I loved the romance, the characters, freaking soccer, everything. I finished this huge book in a day, even though it didn’t feel like a long book AT ALL. I could. not. put this book down – the pages just zipped by for me. Sal is the kind of heroine I adore – hilarious, sassy, down-to-earth, relatable… And Kulti is the most lovable jackass there is. I seriously have hearts in my eyes right now, that’s how much I loved these characters and the story. If you haven’t read Kulti yet, READ IT NOW. I’m OBSESSED with this book – Sal and Kulti have taken a hold of my heart and I never want them to let go.
Kulti has got a bit of everything – enemies to friends, friends to lovers, a slow burn romance, a little forbidden romance. It’s a sports romance with a soccer-playing heroine and a retired international soccer icon, now her coach. It’s got characters you can’t help but love. It’s a long book – but I literally loved every page of it. None of the story felt unnecessary, and every single scene only endeared the characters more to my heart. Yes, the romance is slow, so don’t expect any steamy scenes too quickly, but I wouldn’t change a thing about it. The slow pace is the PERFECT pace for Sal and Kulti, and I promise, the wait is so worth it. This book is meaningful, sweet, heartfelt, and so freaking GOOD. I simply loved it.
Sal Casillas has been a fan of – and in love with – Reiner Kulti since she saw him on television for the first time when she was seven years old. The famous German soccer player, also known as ‘The King’, has been a huge part of Sal’s life – he’s the reason she went on to be the best soccer player she could be. Kulti will always remain in her heart… even if he doesn’t know she exists.
I’d gotten over my crush-slash-infatuation when I was seventeen, when I finally accepted the fact that I didn’t have a single shot of ever playing against him—obviously—and… there was no chance in hell that he’d ever be interested in me, the Argentinian-Mexican-American tomboy thirteen years younger than him. There wouldn’t be a marriage in my future or soccer-playing super-babies.
It was the worst non-break-up ever in the history of imaginary relationships with a man who didn’t even know I existed.
So imagine her surprise, and excitement, when Sal hears that her new coach will be none other than Reiner Kulti. Except he’s nothing like she expects – he’s arrogant, stubborn, a terrible coach, and pretty much doesn’t care about anything but himself. But when Sal tells Kulti off in a brilliant, hilarious speech, things start to change, and an unlikely friendship between them forms.
Strong, independent, honest, loyal, Sal is everything I admire in a heroine. She’s an incredible soccer player, but an even better person. She’s also stinkin’ hilarious – I laughed so much while reading this book because of Sal and her family. I LOVE Sal’s father – he’s my favorite character after Sal and Kulti. He’s just so in love with Kulti that he’s so shy around the famous soccer player and doesn’t know what to do around him. Sal and her father also have a wonderful relationship that warmed my heart.
Kulti is just… I can’t even describe my love for this man. The lovable jerks get me every time. He’s a moody, arrogant ass, but Kulti treasures what he has with Sal. As the two of them spend time together outside of practice, you can see how their friendship strengthens into something meaningful and precious to them both. You can tell that Sal’s friendship – that Sal – grows to be the most important thing in the world to Kulti, and he would do anything and everything to protect and preserve it and her. And the best part about Kulti is how much he respects Sal – even though she’s younger than him and not a famous soccer player like him, he treats her as his equal. She is his best friend, someone he’d do anything for.
I had a man I respected that respected me, and he didn’t care if the world knew we meant something to each other. Our friendship hadn’t been given to either one of us, we had worked at it. on top of that, I felt something for him even if he was an egotistical, arrogant, stubborn pain in the ass. He was my egotistical, arrogant, stubborn pain in the ass.
I loved every nuance of this book – the way Sal and Kulti had ridiculous nicknames for each other, the way Sal’s father just might love Kulti more than Sal does, the way Kulti is so grumpy and moody yet totally hilarious. This book held my attention for the 500 or so pages it was – it captured my heart, made me FEEL so much for the characters. If the number of pages is intimidating, just trust me, every page counts in this story. And the romance, god, the romance. What I loved most about the slow burn in Kulti was how much time and effort the author put into building up the heartwarming friendship between Sal and Kulti before there was any romance, because that friendship made the eventual romance so much more meaningful. Mariana Zapata has written one of the best, if not THE best, friends to lovers romance I’ve ever read.
“Every single thing that has ever happened in my life has led me here, Sal. Destiny is a ladder, a series of steps that takes you where you’re supposed to go. I am the man that I am, and I have done the things that I’ve done, to get me to you.”
Hands down, Kulti is the best book I’ve read all year (and of course I’d read it just as the year is ending). It is now one of my favorite books of all-time, I loved it that much. I’m STILL thinking about this book, even though I read it days ago (it didn’t help that I reread it multiple times). I seriously can’t get Kulti out of my mind. THIS is how you write romance. Kulti was everything I never knew I wanted in one. Mariana Zapata, I freaking LOVE you for creating Kulti, for creating some of the best characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I simply adored this book, this story, these characters, everything about it. It’s the kind of book that will shake up your heart because you care SO MUCH for the characters. I L O V E D this book!!!
Also by Mariana Zapata
The Wall of Winnipeg and Me: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Under Locke: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Rhythm, Chord, and Malykhin: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Lingus: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads